Karen O'Connor, a young journalist known for her celebrity profiles, is consumed with discovering the truth behind a long-buried incident that affected the lives and careers of showbiz team Vince Collins and Lanny Morris.
Karen O'Connor tells the story about two distinct but related periods in her life. In 1972, she is an up-and-coming Los Angeles based journalist who has been given the lucrative assignment of convincing once successful comic Vince Collins, who is at the tail end of his career, to allow her to ghost write his memoirs. Most specifically, she has the task from her publishers of discovering the reason behind two issues in Vince's life from 1957: why he and his former on-stage partner Lanny Morris, who is still active and well known within the entertainment business, broke up their professional partnership shortly after they hosted a successful thirty-nine hour telethon for polio research in Miami, there not having been any indication of problems between the two before that; and how did the dead body of Maureen O'Flaherty end up in the water filled bathtub in Vince and Lanny's New Jersey hotel suite, the opening of that New Jersey hotel owned by mobster Sally Sanmarco which was Lanny and ... Written by
Director Atom Egoyan made cuts to the film, including an orgy scene, in a failed attempt to challenge the NC-17 rating given by the MPAA. ThinkFilm has since announced that the version shown in U.S. theaters, is the same as the one shown at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »
As Lanney signs the bill in the hotel room when Maureen brings him his food, there is a ZIP code visible in the hotel's address. This part of the film is set in 1957, but ZIP codes were not used by the US postal service until 1963. See more »
[as she comes to, he is drinking tea]
That was not a Quaalude you gave me. I've had Quaaludes.
Hmmm. I said it was like a Quaalude.
And you didn't take one yourself, you palmed the pill.
Somebody had to drive.
[puts down his tea-cup]
Don't worry, you won't get pregnant. Not from Alice, and certainly not from me. I didn't take off my pants, as you may or may not remember.
There are laws against drugging people.
Oh, please! You took it voluntarily, nobody slipped it into your ...
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You Know, You Know
Performed by The Mahavishnu Orchestra
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
Composed by John McLaughlin
(c) Warner/Chappell North America Ltd.
By kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd. See more »
Egoyan immediately sets the noir tone of 'Where The Truth Lies' by revealing so much yet cleverly not telling anything. The film gets straight to the point right from the start as we are introduced to a Jerry Lewis Dean Martin type entertainment duo, a haunting image of a corpse in a bathtub and a determined young lady wanting to write about her idols. The slick editing allows the film to maintain its steady track. Egoyan finely contrasts the 50s and 70s. The wonderful mise en scene, flashy lighting and score bring out a 50's feel. While the score brings out a lot of mysteriousness of the 70s (the sex and drugs phase). The camera-work deserves mention. Most of the scenes of the 50's scenes were effectively done with long shots, while a lot of the 70's scenes were shot with quick snaps.
Then there's the unusual cast that includes Kevin Bacon, Alison Lohman and Colin Firth. Bacon gives an energetic performance as the younger Lanny Morris of the 50s and he brings a 'lost' maturity as the 70's Morris. While a majority have stated Lohman as being miscast, I found her to have the right combination of naivety, sex appeal and vulnerability as Karen. The actress certainly holds her own in the presence of the more accomplished actors and bravely carries the film. Firth is remarkable and he completely sheds his Darcy image and gives a more restrained (and sometimes explosive, where required) performance as Vince Collins. Rachel Blanchard demonstrates the right kind of deceitful innocence and enigma.
Some have stated the sex scenes to be of a 'cold' nature. However, I didn't see it that way. Sexuality is an integral part of the film and it is hinted that each character sees it differently. Bacon's Morris pays a lot of attention to his sexual partner's eyes and after-sex behaviour. I can't reveal much about the other characters without spilling out spoilers but their views differ. There's the frighteningly erotic love scene between Alice and Karen followed by a distraught look on Lohman's face. The last sex-scene was particularly disturbing as this is the scene that brings out their alternative side.
However, the revelation in the end was a bit of a letdown. Not because of the twist which is clever enough but the motivation behind it would have worked better had more background information been provided. Where The Truth Lies' mainly works because of Egoyan's unique presentation and storytelling, the visual flair, the performances, the score and the stunning combination of all the themes ie, sex, drugs, sexuality, murder, fame (sounds a bit clichéd but it is shown differently).
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